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Yes, no or maybe all part of politics

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Editor
In my 12 years of writing about politics, I've covered just about every type of gathering your can imagine. When election time rolls around, you can count on attending a couple of debates, town meetings and forums. (The very best political meeting, of course, is the barbecue with lots of watermelon, but those are rarer and rarer.)
The premise of these meetings is fairly simple: candidates tell the public about themselves, their plans if they are elected and what they would like to see happen in the future. The amazing thing is it doesn't matter what the set up of the meetings is, the answers fall into three categories: yes, no and maybe.
The yeses are fairly straightforward.
"Do you support this or that?"
"Yes."
"Do you plan to change this or that?"
"Yes."
"Do you think your opponent is a this or that?"
"Yes."
The "nos" fall into the same category. It's a "no" on supporting this or that; a "no" on changing this or that; and a "no" on your opponent's this or that.
It's the maybes where things get interesting. In politics, it seems as if the maybes are what candidates say when they either don't know the answer or don't want to reply.
"Do you support this or that?"
Maybe.
"Do you plan to change this or that?"
"Maybe."
"Do you think your opponent is a this or that?"
"Maybe."
In political language, maybe can take on many forms. It's often disguised as longer phrases, such as:
"There's two sides to every issue."
"On the flip side."
"On the other hand."
Basically, all these phrases mean maybe.
Sometimes, if you're fortunate, you can hear the three standard answers all in one sentence. Consider this:
A politician is at a public forum, answering questions while trying to convince everyone he is a smart, informed and family oriented person.
Someone in the audience stands and asks a hard question, such as "I heard you wanted to raise our taxes. Is that right?"
The smart candidate replies:
"Well, you see, the answer is simple. Yes, I believe we need to increase money for our city and to do that we have to increase taxes. But, no, I don't want to raise taxes, because I don't want to pay additional taxes any more than you do. So, you see, there's two sides to every issue and that's how I feel."
The person who asks the question turns to his neighbor and asks "Did you understand that answer?"
His neighbor replies, "maybe."

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